Miami is the home of many luxury cruise liners like the Carnival Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line and each year thousands of passengers leave the Port of Miami aboard these ships expecting a dream vacation away from their everyday concerns. Unfortunately for some of them, the vacation can turn into a nightmare as accidents, injuries or even wrongful death are just as likely to occur aboard these floating cities as in any other vacation place.
Cruise Ship Fatal Accident Types and Causes
The most common types of serious injuries passengers and crew members of cruise ships might suffer include:
assault with serious bodily injury
slip and fall accidents
inappropriate medical assistance
Slip and fall accidents resulted from slippery floors or inadequate lighting often cause victims minor or moderate injuries like bruises, cuts or broken bones. Unfortunately, the ship owner's or the employees' failure to provide a relatively safe environment can also lead to more serious, potentially life-threatening injuries, such as spinal cord injuries or traumatic brain injuries.
As an example on January 28, 2012, a 26 years old American passenger fell to his death aboard the Carnival Fantasy cruise ship. The exact reason why the man fell from the upper levels down to the lobby level of the cruise ship remains unknown. However, slip and fall seem to be the most likely answer.
A young female passenger went overboard from the Royal Caribbean owned Allure of the Seas cruise ship on September 16, 2012, probably because of the same reason. Her surviving mother ended up filing a wrongful death claim as the ship's crew failed to initiate immediate rescue mission.
Slip and fall accidents can endanger the life of team members as well. On February 25, 2012, a crewmember of the Carnival Magic cruise ship went overboard while working on the deck due to a slippery floor. Fortunately, the sailor was wearing a lifejacket and was rescued in time. Inappropriate medical assistance can also cause a passenger's wrongful death. That was the case of Victoria Showers, a passenger of the Carnival Dream. Victoria was suffering from critical bowel obstruction, but one of the crew members gave her an enema instead of notifying the ships medical staff. The failure to provide immediate and appropriate medical assistance led to fatal complications causing Victoria's death on December 22, 2010. Her surviving husband filed a negligence and wrongful death lawsuit against Carnival Cruise Lines.
Legal Advice for Victims and Their Families
Surviving family members of passengers or crew members who suffered wrongful death while onboard a cruise ship have the legal possibility to recover damages. The Death on the High Seas Act provides recovery of monetary damages for all wrongful deaths occurred beyond three nautical miles from the shore. A lawsuit based on DOHSA can be filed by the descendants of the deceased in case the death took place while a result of negligence, unseaworthiness, intentional behavior, and strict or products liability. The Act provides recovery of monetary damages such as burial costs and lost wages, but non-monetary damages cannot be recovered.
A lawsuit can be filed by the deceased's authorized delegate on behalf of the surviving family members. However, plaintiffs must act promptly as all claims brought against cruise liners have a short statute of limitations. The cruise ticket works as a valid contract, mentioning that the company has to be notified about any incidents within six months and any claims must be brought within one year. If victims exceed this period, they will lose their rights for compensation.
How Can the Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary Help?
Our attorneys from the Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary have extensive experience in handling wrongful death cases involving cruise ships. We helped several clients pursue the just compensation they deserve and hold negligent companies responsible. If you or someone close to you has been severely injured while onboard a cruise ship, either as a passenger or crew member, do not hesitate to contact us as soon as possible. We'll investigate the circumstances of your case and file the claims on your behalf, so you can concentrate on your recovery and move on with your life.
Common Wrongful Death Questions
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Florida? »
Under the Florida Wrongful Death Act, wrongful death lawsuits can be filed by the spouse or any blood relative (children, parents, siblings) or adoptive sibling who is dependent on the decedent for particular types of support or services. The surviving relatives who can recover damages for wrongful death are known as beneficiaries or survivors.
What Damages Can Be Recovered in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit? »
The damages that can be recovered in a wrongful death case include economic damages, such as medical costs, funeral costs, the loss of the decedent’s financial contributions, and noneconomic damages that can include compensation for grief and the loss of companionship. In some cases, punitive damages can be recovered, as well.
A wrongful death lawsuit is a legal civil action brought by the family members of a person who died or was killed as a result of a person’s or entity’s negligent behavior or as a consequence of an intentional act. When a person dies as a result of an exterior act of negligence, the surviving relatives can seek compensation for their loss, such as potential lost wages from the deceased, losing companionship, or funeral expenses.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death in Florida? »
The statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim in the state of Florida is two years from the date of death. For example, if your loved one passes away because of another's recklessness or negligence on January 1, 2016, you must file a Florida wrongful death claim by January 1, 2018. However, certain extensions may apply in very few cases, depending on the nature of the action. An attorney can assess the specifics.